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  • PHoto published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 14th November 1914, courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
Person Details
11 Jun 1880
Nottingham
He was the husband of Elizabeth Smith who was living at 11 Alison Rise, Nottingham, at the time of her husband's death. She later married John Mellors.
He was a carriage painter when he joined the Royal Navy at the age of 16 in 1898 and he signed on for 12 years in 1898 transferring to the Royal Fleet Reserve in 1910. He was mobilized before the declaration of war.
01 Nov 1914
34
2872077 - CWGC Website
189658
Petty Officer Second Class
HMS Good Hope Royal Navy
(RFR/PO/B/3599) He joined the Royal Navy in July 1896 at the age of 16 and signed on a 12 year engagement on 11 June 1898, his 18th birthday. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Impregnable, 15 July 1896-24 July 1896 (Boy 2nd Class); HMS Ganges 25 July 1896-30 April 1897 (Boy 1st Class, 8 April 1897); HMS Boscawell, 1 May 1897-9 November 1897; HMS Trafalgar, 10 November 1897-17 January 1898; HMS Prince George, 18 January 1898-10 January 1900 (Ordinary Seaman, 4 June 1898); HMS Australia, 12 January 1900-4 June 1900 (Able Seaman, 12 January 1900); Duke of Wellington I; 5 June 1900-8 June 1900; HMS Victory, 9 June 1900-19 October 1900; Duke of Wellington, 20 October 1900; HMS Excellent, 21 October 1900-25 May 1901; HMS Vernon, 26 Mary 1901-1 February 1902; HMS Duke of Wellington I, 2 February 1902; HMS Aboukir, 3 April 1902-15 June 1905 (Leading Seamen, 1 April 1905); HMS Vernon, 16 June 1905-23 September 1905; Victory I, 24 September 1905-27 November 1905; HMS Mercury, 8 November 1905-21 February 1906; HMS Thames , 22 February 1906-17 September 1907(Petty Officer 2nd Class, 1 July 1906); HMS Glory, 18 September 1907-20 April 1909; Victory 21 April 1909-26 May 1909; HMS Terrible, 27 May 1909-15 June 1909; Victory I, 16 June 1909-9 August 1909; HMS Juno, 10 August 1909-3 June 1910; Victory, 4 June 1910-4 June 1910. His 12 year engagement expired on 4 June 1910 and he joined the Royal Fleet Reserve (Portsmouth,(B3599) on 5 June 1910. He was mobilized before the outbreak of war and joined HMS Good Hope 13 July 1914-24 July 1914 then was drafted to Victory, 25 July 1914-30 July 1914, and returned to HMS Good Hope, 31 July 1914-1 November 1914. Note on service documents, ‘DD, Lost when HMS Good Hope was sunk in action of Chilian Cost 1 November 1914.’ His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Panel Reference 1). HMS Good Hope was a Drake Class armoured cruiser built in 1901. By 1914 she was Rear Admiral Sir Christopher George Cradock’s flag ship which, along with HMS Monmouth and other British vessels of 4th Cruiser Squadron, encountered Vice Admiral von Spee’s Scharnhorst and Gneisenau forty five miles off the Chilean port of Coronel. The German ships were faster and more heavily armed than Cradock’s fleet. The sun set at 18:50 on November 1st 1914, which silhouetted the British ships against the light sky while the German ships became indistinguishable from the shoreline behind them. Spee immediately turned to close and signalled his ships to open fire at 19:04 when the range closed to 12,300 yards. Spee's flagship, Scharnhorst, engaged Good Hope while Gneisenau fired at Monmouth. Cradock's flagship was hit on the Scharnhorst's third salvo, when shells knocked out her forward 9.2-inch turret and set her forecastle on fire. Cradock, knowing his only chance was to close the range, continued to do so despite the battering that Spee's ships inflicted. By 19:23 the range was almost half of that when the battle began and the British ships bore onwards. Spee tried to open the range, fearing a torpedo attack, but the British were only 5,500 yards away at 19:35. Seven minutes later, Good Hope charged directly at the German ships, although they dodged out of her way. Spee ordered his armoured cruisers to concentrate their fire on the British flagship which had drifted to a halt with her topsides ablaze. At 19:50 her forward magazine exploded, severing the bow from the rest of the ship, and she later sank in the darkness. Von Spee estimated that his flagship had made 35 hits on Good Hope, suffering only two hits in return that did no significant damage and failed even to wound one crewman. Good Hope was sunk with all hands, a total of 919 officers and men. Rachel Farrand notes: ‘Good Hope and Monmouth’s ship’s companies mainly comprised reservists whereas von Spee’s crews were well trained and experienced. There were just two other British ships the light cruiser HMS Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Otranto neither of which were a threat to von Spee’s modern ships which had a greater fire-power than those of the British Squadron. The captain of Cradock’s flagship, HMS Good Hope, was Captain Philip Francklin, who was a career officer and came from Gonalston Nottinghamshire (he is on the Gonalston memorial). A postscript is that von Spee’s squadron was destroyed, and he and his two sons killed, when the Royal Navy under Admiral Sturdee exacted retribution six weeks later at the Battle of the Falkland Islands 8/12/1914.’
Nottingham Evening Post obituary (abridged), 14 November 1914: ‘2nd PO AL Smith of Alison Rise, Nottingham, lost with HMS Good Hope’. Probate 7 August 1923: Smith Alfred Leonard of Alison Rise Nottingham died 1 November 1914 at sea Administration Nottingham 7 August [1923] to Elizabeth Mellors (wife of John Mellors). Effects £110 13s 3d.
Remembered on

Photos

  • PHoto published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 14th November 1914, courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
    Alfred Leonard Smith - PHoto published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 14th November 1914, courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.